Skip to main content

Load testing and MyEd

One disappointment in the run-up to the new semester was that the upgrade to our university portal failed its load test.  In other words, when we tried running ithe new version with automated tests that simulated the number of staff and students who would be using it in real life, the time it took to display the login screen was too long to be acceptable. Hence we decided to delay the upgrade.

The good news is that we have found the cause of the problem and we have a fix. So we should be able to give staff and students the enhanced version sometime around the middle of the semester. 

An underlying point is that these tests are an important part of our quality assurance process. The portal is used every day by thousands of people and the poor performance we were seeing would have significantly affected their work.  We can take some satisfaction from the fact that we did catch the problem before putting the new system live.

Ideally we would have run the load tests earlier so that we would have had time to fix the problems and still deploy the new version on schedule.  Unfortunately this was not the first stumbling block that we encountered with this upgrade.  Some projects are like that.  It's not unusual to find some problems on any project - in fact it would be most unusual to have none at all - but there are some projects that seem to attract more than their fair share.

We will have a review of the project when is finally completed, with the aim of looking for ways of avoiding problems in future projects.  For example, one issue that we have already noted is that the way the portal technology handles groups of users is changing, and this change does seem to be related to the performance problems we were seeing.  This suggests that we will have to change our implementation to match the new way of working, next time we upgrade this technology.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A new EA Repository

One of my goals since starting this job two years ago has always been to create a repository for architecture documents.  The idea is to have a central store where people can find information about the University's applications, data sources, business processes, and other architectural information.  This store will make it easier for us to explain our plans, to show the current state of the University's information systems, and to explain what Enterprise Architecture is all about.

It's taken a long time to reach this goal, mainly because we're often had more pressing and immediate work to be done.  The creation of a repository is one of those tasks that is very important but never quite urgent.  So I'm now very happy to say that we are in the process of deploying a repository and modelling tool.


This is the culmination of a careful process to select the most appropriate tool for our needs.  We began by organising several workshops to gather requirements from a rang…

A brief summary of our major initiatives

I notice that in 2016 I wrote 34 posts on this blog.  This is only my fifth post in 2017 and we're already three-quarters of the way through the year.  Either I've suddenly got lazier, or else I've had less time to spend writing here.  As I'm not inclined to think of myself as especially lazy, I'm plumping for the latter explanation.

There really is a lot going on.  The University has several major initiatives under way, many of which need input from the Enterprise Architecture section.

The Service Excellence programme is overhauling (the buzzword is "transforming") our administrative processes for HR, Finance, and Student Administration.  Linked to this is a programme to procure an integrated ERP system to replace the adminstrative IT systems. 

Enabling Digital Transformation is a programme to put the middleware and architecture in place so that we can make our processes "digital first".  We're implementing an API framework, a notification…

Business Model Canvas

A Business Model Canvas is a tool for mapping the core functions and capabilities of an organisation.  Compared to the Core Diagrams that I described in an earlier post, the business model canvas attempts to present more aspects of the business, starting with the value proposition – a statement of what the organisation offers to its users (in the business world, to its customers).  It shows the activities and resources, as Core Diagrams do, but also shows user relationships & channels, and also benefits and costs.  I’m not aware of any universities that have used this tool but you can find examples from elsewhere on the web.

We are considering business model canvases as a tool for mapping the strategic capabilities of units at the University of Edinburgh.  Phil Taylor, our EA contractor, sketched an outline of what a business model canvas might begin to look like for HR:
This is only intended to be suggestive: the real canvas would need to result from in-depth discussions about th…